The Catbird Seat: Are You Now or Have You Ever Been a Crazy Birder?

By Pete Dunne; Illustration by Jeff Sipple
From the Summer 2015 issue of Living Bird magazine.
July 15, 2015
Catbird Seat: Are You Now or Have You Ever Been a Crazy Birder? Illustration by Jeff SippleIllustration by Jeff Sipple.
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Perhaps you’re wondering whether you’ve crossed the line and become one of those crazy birders as opposed to merely someone who watches birds. I urge you to fill out the following questionnaire, answering if you agree or disagree with the following statements.

  1. You never answer the phone after 9:00 P.M. because anyone you’d care to talk to knows you are already in bed. (Agree = 10 points)
  2. Related to this, you don’t find it at all odd when your phone rings at 6:00 A.M. on Saturday. (Agree = 10 points)
  3. When buying a car, you rate ground clearance ahead of color. (Agree = 10 points)
  4. Related to this, you won’t buy any car with a trunk or luggage area that will not accommodate a fully extended tripod. (Agree = 20 points)
  5. Given a choice between a tan and a brown car interior, you’ll go with brown because it doesn’t show mud. (Agree = 20 points)
  6. Given a choice between watching the Oscars or The Big Year, you opt for the movie, even though you’ve already seen it six times. (Agree = 20 points)
  7. When your colleagues are discussing the merits of the falcons vs. the eagles, they’re bewildered when you start discoursing on prey range and migratory timetables instead of football stats. (Agree = 5 points)
  8. You are bewildered by your colleagues’ focus on subjects such as pass interceptions and sacks. (Agree = 5 points)
  9. You know what species of birds are coming to your neighbor’s feeder but not the names of your neighbors. (Agree = 5 points. Why only 5 points? Because nobody knows the names of their neighbors anymore.)
  10. When non-birding friends visit and survey the titles of books in your library, their eyes glaze over. When they reach the Ds and see Dunne, they are momentarily put at ease only to discover to their chagrin and consternation that the author is not Dominick Dunne. (Agree = 10 points)

FYI: The (Philadelphia) Eagles and (Atlanta) Falcons are professional football franchises. Dominick Dunne was a U.S. writer whose books frequently focused on the dynamic between high society and the legal system.

If you scored 90 or above on this questionnaire, you are most certainly a crazy birder.

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